Mean-Variance Analysis

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Mean-Variance Analysis'

The process of weighing risk (variance) against expected return. By looking at the expected return and variance of an asset, investors attempt to make more efficient investment choices- seeking the lowest variance for a given expected return, or seeking the highest expected return for a given variance level.

Mean variance analysis is a component of modern portfolio theory, which assumes investors make rational decisions, and that for increased risk they expect a higher return. 

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Mean-Variance Analysis'

There are two major factors in mean variance analysis: variance and expected return. 

  • Variance represents how spread out the data set numbers are, such as the variability in daily or weekly returns of an individual security.
  • The expected return is a subjective probability assessment on the return of the stock. 

If two investments have the same expected return, but one has a lower variance, the one with the lower variance is the better choice.

By combining stocks with different variances and expected returns in a portfolio (diversification), the variance and expected return of the portfolio can be altered as the price moves of one stock may be offset by the price moves of another in the portfolio. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Discretionary Investment Management

    A form of investment management in which buy and sell decisions ...
  2. Account Minimum

    The minimum balance required to be maintained in an investment ...
  3. Capital Growth

    The increase in value of an asset or investment over time. It ...
  4. Absolute Percentage Growth

    An increase in the value of an asset or account expressed in ...
  5. Compound Annual Growth Rate - CAGR

    The year-over-year growth rate of an investment over a specified ...
  6. Return On Investment - ROI

    A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment ...
Related Articles
  1. Modern Portfolio Theory vs. Behavioral ...
    Investing Basics

    Modern Portfolio Theory vs. Behavioral ...

  2. Calculating Covariance For Stocks
    Fundamental Analysis

    Calculating Covariance For Stocks

  3. Diversification: Protecting Portfolios ...
    Investing Basics

    Diversification: Protecting Portfolios ...

  4. Introduction To Investment Diversification
    Investing Basics

    Introduction To Investment Diversification

Hot Definitions
  1. Conduit Issuer

    An organization, usually a government agency, that issues municipal securities to raise capital for revenue-generating projects ...
  2. Financing Entity

    The party in a financing arrangement that provides money, property, or another asset to an intermediate entity or financed ...
  3. Hyperinflation

    Extremely rapid or out of control inflation. There is no precise numerical definition to hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is ...
  4. Gross Rate Of Return

    The total rate of return on an investment before the deduction of any fees or expenses. The gross rate of return is quoted ...
  5. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option ...
  6. Leading Indicator

    A measurable economic factor that changes before the economy starts to follow a particular pattern or trend. Leading indicators ...
Trading Center